Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Controlling Dust and Over-spray
Sanding and spray painting produces airborn dust and over-spray that makes a huge mess indoors if a plastic barrier isn't used to separate the work space from nearby rooms.
I use a plastic dust barrier whenever I'm sanding and spray painting cabinets. I also use them to set up a temporary spray booth, or when I need to sand large drywall repairs on ceilings.
The way I use to set up a dust barrier was to tape plastic from the ceiling to the floor, but pressure from airflow would often pull the tape and plastic down, and heavy plastic usually won't stay up with tape alone.
I bought the Zipwall system to make the set up of dust barriers easier, without having to rely soley on tape to hold the plastic up. I use mine mostly when I'm sanding and spray painting cabinets to seal off the kitchen from adjacent rooms.
So far, I'm very satisfied with this product. It allows me to use much heavier plastic that doesn't blow around like the lightweight plastic I used before.
The extension poles keep the plastic in place without tape. This product isn't perfect though. I'll explain what I like and dislike about it.
Zipwall Extension Poles
I bought a set of four 12-foot poles, which included a carrying case, two zippers with metal hooks to hold the zipped up door open, and extra rubber pads for the pole bottoms. I haven't used those yet.
The extension poles unlock and extend by twisting them, similar to a painting pole. The poles are sturdy and don't come loose until the locking mechanism is twisted. I haven't experienced any problems with the poles, so far.
The provided plastic pads, or clamps, attach to the top of each pole, and these are for keeping the plastic in place. Using them out of the box is self-explanatory.
Both times I've used my Zipwall, the plastic hasn't come loose. The top side of the pad that holds the plastic is covered with soft rubber to prevent ceiling damage from pressure.
Is Setting Up the Zipwall Easy?
For the most part, setting up a zipwall is easy. The first time I used mine it took me a little longer to get it right. Once your plastic is secured to the pole tops, the poles are extended to the ceiling and locked in place by twisting the locking mechanism on the pole.
A ladder isn't needed when setting up a Zipwall dust barrier unless you choose to tape the plastic to the ceiling too. If you space the poles too far apart, or don't pull the plastic tight to reduce slack, the plastic will sag along the ceiling. If the plastic sags a little, you can use painter's tape for a tight seal.
I recommend using thicker plastic for a dust barrier. I use 4 mil plastic for mine, which works great. Lightweight plastic blows around too much, making it harder to stabilize without tape.
If you set up the poles right, with the plastic tight along the walls and ceiling, you won't have to use tape along the plastic edges unless you need an air-tight seal. The two zippers that came with mine work great. To make a zipper door, you simply attach the sticky side of the zipper to the plastic, unzip, and cut a slit in the plastic underneath.
Is the Zipwall Dust Barrier Worth It?
The Zipwall dust barrier is definitely useful for any contractor who needs to conceal dust when working in private homes. One of the reasons I bought one was to have the ability to erect a dust barrier without sticking tape on my customers walls and ceilings. The zipper door is a lot better than cutting a hole in the plastic, or using tape.
The carrying bag that comes with the poles is a nice plus. The bag is a little oversized, but there's plenty of room for the poles and accessories. If I had one complaint about this product, it's the price. The product does what it's designed to do, but I feel like the price could be lower for the basic aluminum extension poles and plastic parts you get. For the price, the parts on the poles should be made of metal instead of plastic, but overall, I'm very satisfied with this product, so far.
I paid more for mine because I bought a set of 12-foot poles, but you can buy a set of the 10-foot poles for much less. You can buy a set of only two poles, but a set of four makes it possible to set up a spray booth, or seal off a larger space. It's also cheaper to buy all of the poles you need in a set, instead of buying them separately later.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Matt G.